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Association on police performance in 2012: Cops went beyond the call
Reduced crime figures prove police officers performed beyond expectations in 2012. This was the view of general secretary of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Michael Seales who spoke in a telephone interview yesterday. Seales, commenting on 2012 crime statistics which showed a ten per cent reduction in serious crimes in T&T, said there was “increased performance of police.”
He said the officers’ performance must be reviewed with the consideration that 2011 statistics were also influenced by the state of emergency in 2011. “One of the things we must be mindful of is the increase in the performance of police in 2012,” Seales said.
“If one takes one’s mind back to 2011 when there existed a state of emergency, which stymied the increase of crime, and one compares what existed in 2012 in the absence of state of emergency, you would have the remarkable improvement in crime-fighting.” He said based on such a comparison of 2012 to 2011 “police officers would have performed beyond expectations.”
On Tuesday, National Security Minister Jack Warner made good on his promise to release crime statistics for 2012, and Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson released the Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA) data to the media. While the crime figures were still high, Seales said special commendation should be given to officers in Central Division, Western and North Eastern Division for their contribution to the overall performance and “their thrust to bring crime down.”
He said among the factors that led to increased performance was the fact that “officers would have been willing to give more of themselves knowing that the conclusion was near at hand in negotiations.” For 2013, Seales said, there would be a significant thrust and a renewed effort to build relations officers share with the community.
He said the relation with the community “will ultimately increase the detection rate and the conviction rate.” Added to this, Seales said, was the re-imaging and the rebranding of the service with the introduction of new police uniforms.
“We think that the membership is very eager in seeing themselves in a different role and making the public understand that they are there to serve their interests and this (new uniform) will go a long way in achieving some of the long-term goals when it comes to the crime scourge in T&T,” he said. Warner had indicated that new uniforms will be coming in 2013 for police officers and Seales said he hopes it is the designs put forward by the association.
The statistics revealed by CAPA said there were 377 reported homicides in 2012 vs 352 homicides in 2011. The reports showed an increase in sexual offences which rose from 709 in 2011 to 1,020 cases last year. Kidnappings also increased from 122 to 180. Burglaries were at an all-time high at 5,276 in 2008 but this was down to 4,262 in 2012. CAPA also reported a decline in larceny of vehicles to 1,029 which was 1,721 at its highest in 2009.
Fraud offences decreased from a high of 245 reported in 2008 to a reported 146 in 2012 and narcotic offences also decreased from 503 in 2008 to 428 last year.
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